A Few Recent Advances in Children's TV

Good children’s television is hard to come by. I mean, an actually tolerable, enjoyable by an adult, children’s TV is as rare as an honest toy commercial. But, this past year my family has discovered several new shows that we’ve all enjoyed. Here’s the top 5.

Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street (Amazon) is one of the best young adult shows I’ve ever seen. The acting can be cheesy and the stories a bit predictable but the overall two season story arc is endearing and grows the characters in surprising ways. There’s no cookie cutter plots here and by the end of season two we were sad for it to end.

Ronja The Robber’s Daughter (Amazon) was a bit of a surprise. The first 5 or so episodes were painfully boring for the adults in our family. But they were the basis for some surprisingly deep character development. By the time we hit episode 18, we felt invested in the characters. It was also important to us that the show provide more than just entertainment for our child. We wanted it to provide opportunities to learn about social interactions and self determination. Ronja does that in spades.

Just Add Magic (Amazon) is not my favorite but it’s still filled with enough character development that it’s no worse than the hugely successful Love Boat. It’s tolerable and there are enough creative explorations of magic that it’s not boring. It probably appeals more to little girls than little boys.

Troll Hunters (Netlfix) is a cute and entertaining animated series with some recognizable voice actors like Anton Yelchin and Kelsey Grammer. While it’s no Pixar, the animation is good and the stories are enjoyable across age groups.